Friday, February 25, 2011

Chrome Notebook vs. iPad 2

I was thinking about this earlier, which would I rather have: a Chrome Notebook, which I'm currently evaluating or the upcoming iPad (let's call it version 2)?

Let's forget that I received the Chrome Notebook for free and that it contains 2 years of free but limited wireless data access through Verizon Wireless. Let's also forget the iPad v.2 isn't available yet and the specifications are pure speculation. Having said that which would I rather have?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How to reset your iPhone 4 using DFU Mode

A while back my iPhone 4 got a bad software update and began continually restarting. I took it into the Apple Store and they showed me how to reset the iPhone by putting in DFU mode. Once you place the phone in DFU mode you can restore to previous firmware versions, wipe the iPhone and/or fix most other problems you have. Here is a quick and informative video on how to switch modes:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Windows Time Sync error: 0x800705B4

When trying to display the time difference between a local computer and another time source using the Windows Time Sync command: w32tm /stripchart /computer:targetcomputer /samples:number /dataonly you may see the response as "timestamp, error: 0x800705B4". This just means the local machine's time source isn't available.

To fix this error you need to set the client machine to use an external time source like another server. In order to do that the other server must be setup as a Authoritative Time Server. Then configure a manual time source using w32tm /config /manualpeerlist:targetcomputer /syncfromflags:manual /update.

When running the manual time source command on a Windows 2008 R2 SP1 machine I got a different error "The service has not been started. 0x80070426". To fix this problem go to services.msc, find Windows Time and start it. When you rerun the command all will be well.

I'm not sure why Windows Time Syncing has to be such an issue without a domain controller setup but it is!

Find the fastest Broadband Providers

This was in Lifehacker but really is a great reference tool if you are getting ready to move or just want to compare services in your area. Just go to the National Broadband Map and enter your address or zip code to see the providers in your area. It breaks the providers down by Wired and Wireless access.

When I landed on the website using chrome (via my Chrome Notebook) the site asked if it could track my located and with the click of a button found my nearest providers. It's amazing how Slow Verizon and AT&T are compared to Time Warner - at least for my area.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Windows 7 SP1 causes Outlook 2010 problems

Beware: If you are thinking about upgrading to Windows 7 SP1 and your company uses Outlook 2010 to connect to Apptix Hosted Exchange, don't. As of this date it does not work.

I've been "testing" Windows 7 SP1 since it was released last week via MSDN and ever since then Outlook 2010 has been unable to make a connection to Apptix's Exchange Server. I've sent an email to Apptix so hopefully they will find a fix. It wasn't until I removed Windows 7 SP1 that Outlook was able to reconnect and grab the last 6 days of email.

To remove Windows 7 SP1 go to Programs and Features > Click View installed updates on the left hand side > scroll down to the Microsoft Windows section and remove the update called "Service Pack". (I forget the KB#).

Friday, February 18, 2011

SSD Life on Macbook Air 128GB SSD Part 2

I recently posted about running SSD Life 1.2.17 on my Macbook Air (the first model) and how it was unable to calculate the health of my SSD:

No that it matters but I didn't realize I downloaded the Pro version instead of the free version. The website doesn't do a very good job of pointing out the differences, after all if you click the download tab / link at the top of the site you automatically get the Pro version.

Anyways I sent in my data log and today SSD Life responded to my problem by sending me a beta version of SSD Life Free (version 1.3.19) and asked me to run it.

Here's the result:

My Macbook Air which has a 128GB SSD (firmware: VAM0BA1Q) was recognized and now I can see the health of my SSD drive is at 97% - considered Excellent by the product. Only time will tell whether this beta version will be able to calculate how long my drive will last.

Monday, February 14, 2011

SSD Life on Macbook Air 128GB SSD

Update 2/18/2011:
SSD Life responded to my email and I've posted an update here.

Original Post:

SSD life is a Windows based tool that helps users monitor the health of their Solid State drives. Most Solid State drives have a certain number of writes they can perform before the drive itself is finished. This is pretty typical for flash drives and depending on the drive and manufacturer is around 10,000 writes. Therefore statistics about the drive's health is more important for solid state drive owners.

Knowing this I decided to run the lastest version (1.2.17) on my Macbook Air which has a 128GB SSD (VAM0BA1Q). Note: this is the first generation Macbook Air. Here's what I found:

Looks like the drive used by Apple doesn't supply health information, at least not the type that SSD life can read. Damn! Looks like I'm back to guessing or wait until they can provide an update to the program that can read whatever usage information the drive is sending.

As you can see from the warning I'm being asked to submit the log file to SSD life. I did and who knows maybe down the road they will support this drive.

In the meantime all I can see is that I've got about 1900 hours on the drive and my machine has been powered on about 2100 times. Not exactly the information I was looking for. I also knew that TRIM was unsupported.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Google Chrome Pilot Users Google Group

About 30 minutes ago I was berated (as were a number of people) with about 50 + emails from a new Google Group created for Chrome Notebook Pilot users. Apparently someone got the idea that it would be great if Pilot users could share their experiences with each other. While there is some truth to this and I do look forward to seeing how others are using the Chrome Notebook, the fact that everyone was opted in to receive emails every time a user posted something was not a great way to start.

Thanks to the person who spammed everyone.

Updated 2/14/2011:

About a day after this happened Google sent an apology email out. They also created a new Chrome Notebook Pilot Google Group that is opt in. Good idea.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What I Use: Chris Kenst's Gear @ Work

I really liked the Lifehacker series What We Use where Lifehacker's editors write about the hardware and software they use on a regular basis, so I thought I'd do it myself. Only I’ve split it up into two sections. What I Use: My Gear @ Home and What I Use: My Gear @ Work. They really are two separate and interesting places. At work I’m a software tester. At home, I’m a technology enthusiast, blogger, scuba diver and well still a software tester!



At work I've got one regular desktop computer and a number of servers and virtual machines to do my testing.
  • dell_precision_t3500Dell Precision T3500: with 2.4GHz Xeon, 4GB of RAM, 256MB Graphics, Dual 20" Widescreen monitors and 500GB HD. It’s due for a few upgrades including an SSD. I’m running Windows 7 Professional x64.
  • msnaturallaser6000graspMicrosoft Natural Wireless Mouse 6000: I use a conventional keyboard at work but when it comes to my mouse I love having the flexibility of wireless. The design of the Natural Wireless mouse keeps my hand and wrist from hurting after long days. I love it!
  • Linksys 5 Port Switch: I never know when I’m going to need to figure out a problem with a wired device. Most of the time it sits at my desk doing another but every once in a while it becomes a useful tool. 

I test our company’s software in many different environments, emulating a number of possible network designs. Having a lot of hardware that can quickly be configured for various purposes is a must have!
  • My Quality Assurance Lab contains:
    • A varying Dell rack mount servers running Windows 2003/2008, SQL Server 2005/2008 with varying configurations.
    • 2 KEMP Load Balancers
    • 2 Dell PowerConnect switches
    • 2 APC UPS units: You never know when the power will go out.
  • 2 VMware ESXi servers: For quickly cloning and building test machines or consolidating Production servers.
  • 1 VMware Server server: For older, less power intensive virtual machines. Mainly for browser compatibility testing.

Main Browser: Don't have one. I use IE 8, FF 3.6 and Chrome almost evenly. I also have Safari installed and have a bevy of virtual machines capable of running IE6, IE7, FF2.0, FF3.0, FF3.5 on a variety of platforms. I'm a software tester so all the bugs are in IE, Firefox has lot of good extensions and Chrome is super fast and has application shortcuts.

Extensions: For Firefox: Selenium IDE, Web Developer, Hack bar, Firebug, Greasemonkey and User Agent Switcher. For IE: ieHTTPheaders and IE8 Developer Tools.

Windows Apps:
  • VMware Workstation: Pretty much a requirement for creating and managing VMware based virtual machines and servers. You can’t run a ESXi or VMware Server without it.
  • RoboHelp: The standard for creating and maintaining our help system. Used in coordination with our Technical Writers.
  • Utilities: Notepad ++, Paint.NET, KeePass, Snag It, Zune Music Software, OneNote, CrashPlan, Outlook, Dropbox, WinMerge and WireShark to name a few.
  • Other VM stuff: VMware vSphere, Windows Virtual PC, Oracle VirtualBox.
Mac OS X:
  • Safari on Leopard and Snow Leopard for compatibility reasons.
Mobile Apps

  • We don’t do any mobile application testing right now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

BMC Remedy 7.5 Server System Requirements

BMC Remedy recommends you separate the Action Request System (or AR System) version 7.50 servers and BMC Remedy Mid Tier servers. If you insist on using a combined server they have another set of server requirements.

The system requirements can be a little confusing because they drastically increase as soon as you add one complex application (like BMC Remedy ITSM app) on Windows. Note: This list excludes database requirements.

For AR System 7.50 server and the separate Mid Tier server:

  • 512 MB of available RAM
  • 800 MB of available hard disk space
  • 2.8 GHz processor
  • 1 GB of available RAM
  • 2 GB of available hard disk space
  • 2.8 GHz processor
For a combined AR System and Mid Tier server:

  • 1 GB of available RAM
  • 1.5 GB of available hard disk space
  • 2.8 GHz processor
  • 2 GB of available RAM
  • 4 GB of available hard disk space
  • 2.8 GHz processor
For an AR System 7.5 server with one complex application:

  • 2 GB of available RAM
  • 4 GB of available hard disk space*
  • Dual 3 GHz processor
  • 4 GB of available RAM
  • 8 GB of available hard disk space*
  • Dual 3 GHz processor
* = Each complex application you add requires as additional 2GB of storage.

These are the system / hardware / installation requirements for BMC Remedy AR System 7.5 running on a Windows server and might differ from older versions.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Apartment Organization Tips

As someone who lives in an apartment I enjoy getting smart organization tips. Here are a few courtesy of Lifehacker: